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Knight at the Movies: Movies for Mother's Day
by Richard Knight, Windy City Times
2015-05-06

This article shared 4210 times since Wed May 6, 2015
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As mom's annual holiday approaches, the usual assortment of mother-offspring movies beloved by Our People ( Mommie Dearest, Mildred Pierce, Carrie, The Exorcist, Terms of Endearment, Steel Magnolias, Postcards from the Edge, Suddenly Last Summer, The Guilt Trip ) are no doubt being trotted out for giddy viewing. Those are all fantastic choices to put a camp spin on the celebration—which I heartily recommend—but here are some new choices to add to the list of movies for Mother's Day.

Blue Sky ( 1994 )—Jessica Lange won a much-deserved Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Carly Marshall, Army wife of Tommy Lee Jones and mother to their two teenage daughters. Carly is a sultry sexpot—too hot to trot to be cooped up for long by the rigid traditions of life on an Army base and the conservative late 1950s era in which she lives. So Carly acts out ( a lot ), but her sexy antics constantly get her in hot water with her daughters and husband, and it's clear she suffers from manic depression. Lange is marvelous in the late bisexual director Tony Richardson's final film. The film has just been released for the first time on Blu-ray from Olive Films. http://www.olivefilms.com/films/blue-sky-blu-ray/

Mamma Mia! ( 2008 )—Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, Christine Baranski and Dominic Cooper's sensational abs star in this modern-day variation on the sun 'n' surf Frankie-Annette beach pictures of old ( with a silly plot just as whisper-thin ). Front and center of course are the raft of 1970s Abba tunes belted out with gusto by the energetic cast.

This Sunday, May 10, the second annual Mother's Day with Mamma Mia! screening event kicks off at Noon at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave. It will feature a '70s preshow costume contest, interactive audience guide and sing-a-long screening with mimosas available in the Music Box lounge. It's hosted by my alter ego, Dick O'Day. http://www.musicboxtheatre.com/events/mother8217s-day-with-mamma-mia-2015-may-10-sun-1200pm

I Killed My Mother ( 2009 )—Canadian gay filmmaking auteur Xavier Dolan set the bar very high with this debut film in which Dolan himself plays a gay teenage enfant terrible whose battles with his single mother ( a revelatory Anne Dorval ) are like comedic arias. It's sensationally entertaining. Dolan has gone on to make a slew of rapturously received films, including 2014's Mommy, in which he returned to the theme of a single mother ( again played by Dorval ) and a difficult son ( a much more disturbed one ) who finds solace in her friendship with Suzanne Clement as a mysterious new neighbor. Both films are worth seeing.

Helicopter Mom ( 2014 )—When My Big, Fat Greek Wedding's Nia Vardalos becomes convinced that her teenage son Lloyd is gay, she brings a new definition to the word "supportive." Not only does mom out Lloyd to his entire school, but she signs him up for gay dating sites and applies for LGBT college scholarships on his behalf. The only problem is that Lloyd isn't sure yet about his sexuality and he has a crush on the school's most popular and pretty girl. Will mom learn to love her not-quite-sure-he's-gay son? Now available on VOD; https://www.facebook.com/HelicopterMomMovie

A Place to Call Home ( 2014 )—Speaking of controlling mothers, the matriarch at the head of the family in this Australian miniseries ( now in its second season ) could give Mommie Dearest a few lessons in domination. Set in the 1950s, this lavishly produced nighttime soap series from Acorn TV has the usual array of family secrets ( including some hot 'n' heavy gay ones ) and is a guilty pleasure worth tracking down. Season one is available on DVD while season two is now streaming online. https://acorn.tv/franchise/placetocallhome

Eat with Me ( 2014 )—This low-key LGBT character study from Daniel Au ( making his film debut ) is quietly winning—a subtle look at the relationship between an Asian mother who moves in with her gay son, a restaurant cook, when her husband abruptly decides he's had enough of marriage. The son's burgeoning romance with a sweet bass player becomes complicated ( naturally ) by the mother's presence in the son's apartment though an energetic neighbor ( played by Mad TV's Nicole Sullivan ) helps smooth the way. Although the food metaphors lose their flavor and some of the film's other contrivances barely squeak by, Au's contemplative film has plenty of winning moments for patient viewers. George Takei cameos. On VOD from Wolfe Releasing; http://wolfeondemand.com/productions/details/1102/Eat-With-Me

Upcoming movie calendar

Highlights from films opening in Chicago, May 8 and May 15 ( or available digitally )

She's Beautiful When She's Angry ( 5/8 )—The acclaimed documentary about the women's movement in the 1960s and 70s returns to Chicago for an engagement at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St. Special guests include Anne Ladky ( at the Sunday, 5/10 at the 5:15 p.m. screening ) and Judith Arkana ( Wed., 5/14 at the 8:15 p.m. screening ). http://events.colum.edu/event/undressing_israel_screening_and_qa#.VTNjvfnF_JU

Far from the Madding Crowd—A remake of late, gay director John Schlesinger's 1967 romantic film adaptation of the Thomas Hardy novel, set in the English countryside, starred Julie Christie as the gorgeous lass fought over by a trio of would-be lovers played by Terence Stamp, Peter Finch and Alan Bates. Carey Mulligan ( The Great Gatsby ) steps into Christie's role, and Tom Sturridge, Michael Sheen and Matthias Schoenaerts are the suitors.

5 Flights Up ( 5/8 )—Academy Award winners Morgan Freeman and Diane Keaton star in this comedy about an aging couple, an artist and his schoolteacher wife, whose simple decision to sell the Brooklyn apartment where they've lived since the 1970s because the stairs have become untenable sets into motion a series of urban calamities. Out actor Cynthia Nixon plays the couple's niece, a realtor who lists their now-coveted apartment. VOD and playing exclusively in the Chicagoland area theaters at the AMC South Barrington ( 175 Studio Dr., Barrington ); http://www.focusfeatures.com/5_flights_up

Mother's Day with Mamma Mia! ( 5/10 )—See details above.

Cinema Q V ( 5/14 )—The fifth annual Cinema Q film series continues at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St., with a screening of 2013's Violette, a biopic of the French bisexual feminist writer. The series is co-presented by the Queer Film Society, Reeling, the Legacy Project, and the Chicago Cultural Center. http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/cinema_q.html

Pitch Perfect 2 ( 5/15 )—The Barden Belles, the female collegiate a cappella group, is back, this time trying to win an international singing contest. Anna Kendricks ( Into the Woods ), Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld and Brittany Snow once again lift their voices in song and offer plenty of comedic snark between tunes.

Mad Max: Fury Road ( 5/15 )—The apocalyptic Australian movie series that made Mel Gibson an international sensation in the early 1980s is remade by its original director, George Miller, this time starring Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult and Zoe Kravitz co-star.

Soul Boys of the Western World ( 5/15, 5/16, 5/18, 5/20 )—It's an entertaining ( thanks to the vintage footage ) though hardly balanced look at the '80s New Wave band Spandau Ballet ( "True" ) who, along with Duran Duran, Ultravox, Visage and Heaven 17, helped bring the New Romantic music genre ( pretty hairdos, lots of make-up, lavish costumes and delectable, pulsating synth-n-soul pop ) to the dance floors of England and then the United States Back in the Day. Screening at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St.; http://www.siskelfilmcenter.org/soulboys

Limited Partnership ( 5/16 )—It's a documentary about a gay couple who took on the government decades before DOMA and Prop 8 became part of the gay-marriage landscape. There's a free screening presented by Chicago Community Cinema at the Chicago Cultural Center. http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/chicago_communitycinema.html

Dyke Delicious 12 Annual May Shorts ( 5/16 )—It's a collection of thought-provoking and humorous lesbian-themed shorts back for its 12th year, curated by Sharon Zurek and shown at Chicago Filmmakers, 5243 N. Clark St. Presenters are Chicago Filmmakers and Reeling, with by Black Cat Productions co-sponsoring. The social hour is at 7 p.m., screening at 8 p.m. chicagofilmmakers.org/cf/content/12th-annual-may-shorts .


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